House, Omar Epps House, Omar Epps

There's a new Dean of Medicine at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.

And on Monday's episode of House, that new dean was Dr. Gregory House's ticket out of prison. After House (Hugh Laurie) drove his car through her house, Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) left her post at the hospital. And taking her place is none other than Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps)!

Foreman showed up at the prison with a judge's order to release House on conditional parole under Foreman's supervision. The catch: House must return to the hospital to help his fellow doctors save an organ donor's lungs so that a transplant patient can receive them. And as you might expect, not everyone at Princeton-Plainsboro is happy to see House.

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So was House worth the risk? And will he actually respect Foreman's new authority? We chatted with Epps about all that and more. Plus: What does Foreman see in Dr. Park (Charlyne Yi)?

What was your reaction when you found out they were going to make you the boss?
Omar Epps:
I thought it was great. I thought it was creative. It was a great change-up for me, and I was just excited to see how it's going to pan out and how the relationship and banter between Foreman and House is going to take on its new life.

What kind of leader do you think we're going to see Foreman be this year?
Well, I think it's going to be a combination of a lot of things. The Foreman of old is pretty thorough and pretty much a hard a-- and just pays attention to details. But at the same time, when you're running such a huge operation, it's hard to micromanage. 

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Why do you think Foreman went out of his way to bring House back to Princeton-Plainsboro?
Obviously Foreman cares about the guy, not to mention he has a lot of respect for him. He basically puts his neck out on the line... This is the last guy they want back in the hospital. But at the end of the day, he's still the best doctor. Foreman's playing the politics and the reality at the same time. But in terms of the friendship between them, it's just the best place for him to be. House is sort of rebuilding his life and coming back into the hospital is good for both of them in the long run.

We've seen Foreman step up before and it caused tension with House. Can we expect more of the same?
I think there is some tension there but it's sort of balancing itself out. The bottom line is, Foreman is the boss, and he's running the hospital. And I think that there's a mutual respect there. I think that House realizes the magnitude of the risk that Foreman is taking. When the student becomes the teacher, that's just sort of a weird dichotomy. But I think House realizes the error in his ways. And it's been a year, so life has completely moved on. [Foreman] is one person from his past that's reaching out to say, "Hey, I care about you and let's help you rebuild your life."

Because Foreman is taking such a risk, will House try to behave, at least at first?
(Laughs) I think you know the answer to that question. It will be interesting to see how far House goes with that, because at the end of the day, the stakes are real. This is not just about Foreman putting his neck out. House can go back to jail at any given time. So he certainly doesn't want that but, he's still going to be himself.

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Cuddy used to call Foreman "House-lite" because of his willingness to do whatever to solve a case. So in some ways, House may find Foreman to be an ideal boss.
Definitely. I think he's lucked out. Foreman is someone who understands House's method of madness. So that's going to work to House's favor at times. And I think it will work to Foreman's detriment at times.

So is House worth the risk?
I think Foreman knows ... how House operates. It's like having Bret Favre be your quarterback: You know he's going to throw a couple of interceptions, but you might win the game. ... He knows to have House operating at full capacity, he's going to have to give him that space. Hopefully he won't f--- things up too bad. 

How's the rest of the team going to react to Foreman as Dean of Medicine, assuming they return?
When we start the season everyone's been gone — literally no one's at the hospital. House has been in jail. It's been a year, so life has gone on. But eventually, I think that those relationships are going to play out. I think that's part of what we'll discover in the upcoming episodes.

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There is also some new blood. What does Foreman see in Dr. Park (Yi) that he would save her from her dust-up in neurology?
Epps: I wouldn't say she's a Foreman protégé, but... Foreman has a soft spot for her and thinks she's definitely capable. I also think part of that camaraderie between Foreman and her will be that Foreman will have some eyes on the inside. He might expect that loyalty, but I don't know if he's necessarily going to get it.

We also know Dr. Adams (Odette Annable), who House met in prison will make her way to the hospital.
That sort of comes about in a weird way. She's not a Foreman hire. That ends up coming with House's new sort of baggage. Foreman ... has to feel that one out.

When I spoke with creator David Shore, he said Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) will be saying goodbye. As someone who had some romantic history with her, will Foreman be affected by that?
I don't want to give that one away. We'll see. I think if you go back to last season that was sort of dealt with. But I don't know. You never know what's going to happen in the future.

So, if House goes too far, will Foreman be able to rein him in?
I think he's going to put his foot down, but it's going to be a battle. You put your foot down with House, he tries to find a way around it. But Foreman used to work for House, so he knows all of his tricks. He helped facilitate half the madness. So in that sense, he's sort of a step ahead and he feels confident in being a step ahead.

At the same time, he knows House is going find a new bag of tricks, so Foreman has got to stay sharp. They both know that the stakes are high. So, I think the reins are as tight as they have ever been. It's one of those things where it's both of you guys' last chance. If this guy messes up, you're both out of here.

Do you think Foreman was the right choice?